NEIL, William Ernest

1st World War
Date of Birth
Date Attested
Attested at
Exeter, Ontario
Original Unit
Regimental Number
Date of Death
Age at Death
23 years 7 months
Biographical Summary

DIVISIONAL UNIT:        1st Canadian Infantry Division
                                             1st Infantry Brigade
                                             2nd Battalion - Eastern Ontario
                                             Canadian Infantry Corps
SERVICE NO:                   654643
RESIDENCE:                    Kirkton – Ontario 
DATE OF BIRTH:            February 25, 1895
                                             Mooresville – Middlesex County - Ontario
DATE OF DEATH:           September 27, 1918             23 years     7 months
MEMORIAL:                    Vimy Memorial – Vimy –
                                             Pas de Calais - France
PARENTS:                         Mr. William and Mary Neil – Kirkton - Ontario
Occupation:                        Farmer                                  Religion:     Presbyterian
Enlistment:                         Exeter – March 23, 1916 – 161st Huron Battalion
Enlistment Age:                 21 years     1 month

The 161st arrived in Liverpool on November 11, 1916 after their departure from Canada on November 1, 1916.
On March 23, 1918, the 161st was absorbed into the 4th Canadian Reserve Battalion and he then transfers to the 1st Canadian Battalion, goes overseas and joins the Canadian Corps Reinforcement Camp on April 3rd. He moved to the 
Canadian Corp Machine Gun Pool on April 9th. On August 8, 1918, he transfers to the 2nd Battalion and joins them on 
      August 10, 1918.
On the upcoming attack on the Marcoing Line the 1st Division would be fanning out to the north and then advance and capture Sains-les-Marquion and Marquion, then advance across the Arras-Cambrai road and take the enemy positions in front of the Marcoing Line. The attack would then carry to the north-east toward the Marcoing Line.
Private Neil and his unit were at Inchy-en-Artois when he was killed immediately during an attack by a direct hit from enemy shellfire. 
There had been a light rain during the night of September 26/27th but it cleared in the morning. Rations and water had been brought during the night.
The barrage opened at 5:20 am with much intensity onto the enemy positions and there was only a feeble response. The Battalion advanced in “diamond” formation toward Haynecourt by Companies and 10 minutes apart. This took place at 6:40 am.
At 10 am No. 1 Company was right assault – No. 4 Company was left assault and No. 3 in support and 2 in reserve. No. 2 Company then leap-frogged through the 1st Battalion and continued the advance.
Enemy machine-guns situated along the railway slowed the advance.
Both the 2nd Brigade on the left and the 4th Division enfiladed those enemy machine-guns allowing the advance to advance. The first two objectives had been attained.
At 6 pm the enemy massed for a counter-attack and this was easily dispersed.
During the day, at least 24 were killed and 175 wounded.